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Why is the World Economic Forum in Missouri?


Cape Girardeau, Missouri is home to one of the World Economic Forum’s newly-formed hubs of its Global Shapers Community.

The small town of Southeast Missouri is hub No. 481 in the world.

Global Shapers Community’s mission: “We believe in a world in which young people are central to solution-building, policy-making and lasting change.”

“If there was ever a time in which strengthening local communities and empowering youth leaders were paramount, now is that time,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum and the Global Shapers Community.

Its membership grew to more than 14,000 “Shapers” and alumni worldwide in 2022.


Why Cape Girardeau?

Southeast Missourian writes:

Awareness started with Kalyan Gautham, age 31, who relocated to Cape Girardeau with his start-up, WATT, recipient of last year’s 1st50K from Codefi. It was always his passion to connect with globally-minded people and joining Global Shapers in Bangalore, India, changed his world.

“I would travel the world as a business consultant and be immediately welcomed into vibrant communities through Global Shapers, all seeking to make a difference,” Gautham said.

When relocating to Cape Girardeau, Gautham learned the Global Shapers community had yet to start a hub in Missouri. The closest chapters are in Nashville and Chicago.

Missing the caused-based camaraderie, Gautham explored starting a hub, literally putting Cape Girardeau and Missouri on the map for World Economic Forum and Global Shapers.

“Having lived in the UK, Dubai, Manila, Hong Kong and Singapore, I have always been involved in social initiatives through Global Shapers, contributing to a greater cause,” Gautham said. “For me, members of Global Shapers are like family. And I wanted to bring that experience and opportunity to Cape Girardeau.”

It was a challenge for a city more rural than others in the network. To succeed, Gautham knew he needed help. Enter Courtney Cannell.

Cannell relocated to Cape from Portland with her own startup opportunity. Having lived abroad in Ecuador and Peru, she also worked for the government of Spain on immigration issues and with U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley in Oregon, which were precursors to her move to Cape and quest for a cause-based community.


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